Kari, it is the start of Holy Week and so, particularly in this most holiest of weeks, I'm aware of how distant our Christian story and liturgies are to most around me. I see advertisements for Easter Brunch and ham, but except for the closing of the YMCA branches, nothing signals that life this week and next Sunday will more than the worship of food and family. Yet, I write this, not in a spirit of bitterness or righteousness, but feeling grateful for the gift of my Christian faith and communities, thanksfulness for the beliefs that sustain me all the other weeks of my years and hope that God's new life will break through in the places of death I know about in my circle of life and in this world so in need of spiritual transformation. Have a blessed Holy Week and may the joy of God's new life continue to fill and over-flow in your life. Anne M-I think today's reflection in "Forward Movement" is particularly relevant to Goal #2: http://www.forwardmovement.org/todaysreading.cfm
Psalm 137:1-6(7-9). How shall we sing the LORD's song in a foreign land? (RSV)
During China's Cultural Revolution, Christianity was banned. Worship was forbidden. Believers became exiles in their own land.
We are exiles, too. But, says a Chinese friend, our exile is more subtle and seductive. Sunday is just another day. Many self-identify as spiritual but not religious. Appealing voices-like Oprah-abound. In this now foreign land, following Christ requires intentionality-for our culture reinforces religion no more. We need grace even more-which is good!
Advocating a creative return to core practices, Diana Butler Bass wonderfully reminds us that we are not on the Titanic. Rather, we are on the Mayflower, heading to a new land-not to conquer, but to adapt and, thereby, to thrive.
Certainly, Christians have endured far worse. Our challenge is to keep the faith in a land of plenty where anything goes.
Many are longing for something more real. I think what they subconsciously want and need is to hear the Lord's song voiced in fresh, compelling ways. For their sake and ours, let us sing anew.